Wide-Faced Men at a Clear Disadvantage When it Comes to Social Perception


2013-09-18 21:38

The shape of your face depicts much about a person, as well as changing the perceptions held about said individual by those around.

When it comes to people left at a disadvantage, few would imagine that a wide-faced man would be least likely to have friends. After all, he is viewed as aggressive and untrustworthy. Furthermore, wide-faced individuals incur selfishness in those around them, meaning they will be faced with kindness less frequently.

UC Riverside professors had found in a previous study that wide-faced people are actually quite literally more aggressive and untrustworthy. It was noticed that such a face corresponds with proneness for deception, lying and cheating their way through life. Building on that study, researchers at the university discovered that the lack of trust creates an aura of selfishness which translates into less desire for interaction and sharing with the wide-faced individual. This, in turn, could result in anti-social behavior and, particularly, criminal activity.

Of course, here’s where the “chicken or the egg” question is asked. Was the person with the wide face aggressive and deceitful from the beginning or did society’s mistrust of that physical image create the aggressiveness and deceit?

Another study of the four conducted by UC Riverside found that the wider the face compared to its height, the more self-absorbed the individual seemed to be and to act more selfishly when sharing resources between self and partner.

The final study of the four found that the “chicken or the egg” question can partially be answered. Human beings are wired to respond to another’s expectations and partners often expect less positive from the wider faced individuals, believing them to be of lower character.

Men whose partners believe the best about them are less likely to fall into the trap of anti-social behavior their counterparts walk into blindly. This is not to say there are no biological factors discovered, but merely that it’s part of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

On a more positive note, the wider the face compared to facial height, the more they seem to lead financially successful firms. It’s not clear why this is the case, but a 2011 paper published in the Psychological Science journal. This does, however, refer to firms with cognitively simple leadership teams.

This all may not mean much or it may be a great stepping stone for psychological research to understand to what extent facial structure depicts personality and capability for success in life.